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Drawing by Miquel Barceló
Drawing by Miquel Barceló
Ferran Mascarell presents the programme and image for Catalan culture, guest of honour at the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair


The 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair is the starting point for the wide-ranging exhibitions of Catalan culture that will be held in the main cities in Germany throughout the coming year and which will culminate with Catalan culture participating as the guest of honour at the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair. The minister for culture of the government of Catalonia, Ferran Mascarell, described the general outline of the programme at a press conference. He was accompanied by the Fair director, Juergen Boos; the director of the programme of the Guest of Honour, Marifé Boix; the commissioner of the programme Catalan culture, guest of honour at the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair, Anna Soler-Pont; the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Emili Manzano; the president of the Gremi d'Editors de Catalunya (Publishers' Association of Catalonia), Antoni Comas and the president of the Associació d'Editors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Publishers in the Catalan Language), Lluís Pagès. The author Biel Mesquida, who won Catalonia's National Literature Prize this year, gave a brief talk about Catalan literature.

The organizers. Foto EFE

The organizers. Foto EFE.

The graphic image that will represent Catalan culture at the world's most important book fair was presented at the press conference. It consists of a drawing by Miquel Barceló with the words Cultura catalana, singular i universal (Catalan culture, unique and universal) written in his own calligraphy. The aim of the programme is to make Catalan culture known, from its most traditional manifestations to its most contemporary, to boost the number of translations of authors in the Catalan language and raise awareness about them abroad and to display the strengths of the Catalan publishing industry.

Catalan culture will be receiving the baton from India, the guest of honour at the 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair, on 8 October, the last day of this year's Fair. Between then and next October some 25 German cities will be host to a hundred cultural activities such as literary meetings, academic symposia, film cycles, exhibitions and performances of music, theatre and dance, the aim of which is to show Catalonia's living culture and its great contemporary creators. In parallel with these activities there will be others associated with the programme in Catalonia and elsewhere.

A great exhibition

The 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair will be held from 10 to 14 October and Catalan culture will be on display not only within the Fair's precinct but also at the city's main cultural facilities. Within the precinct, the Forum space, 2,500 square metres, will house an exhibition provisionally entitled Catalan culture today organised around three core themes: Catalan culture today, a thousand years of Catalan language and literature and the publishing industry in Catalonia.

Within the Forum space there will be a specific programme of debates and presentations organised jointly with Catalan publishers and this will complement the literary programme that will also be held at Frankfurt's Literaturhaus during the four days of the Fair. The Agora, the Fair's large, open-air space, visible from all the stands, will have an installation designed by the artist Perejaume and two groups or colles castelleres, who create impressive human towers, or "castles", will perform there on the two days the Fair is open to the general public.

The city's museums will provide ample evidence of Catalonia's artistic diversity. Notable amongst them being the exhibition of Romanesque and Gothic art at the Staedel museum; the art of the second half of the 20th century, from the MACBA collection, at the Kuntsverein and Portikus (municipal contemporary art centre); modern-day Catalan photography at the Photography Museum; artists' books: texts and originals at the Museum of Applied Arts and an exhibition about recent Catalan architecture at the Museum of Architecture.

The opening concert for Catalonia's participation as guest of honour will, as is customary, be a single performance, on this occasion coordinated by Joan Ollé and bringing together various Catalan artists, at Frankfurt's Alte Oper. Notable amongst other musical performances that will be held in Frankfurt will be the one by Jordi Savall and the Capella Reial de Catalunya; the one by Maria del Mar Bonet and Miguel Poveda, in a joint concert centred on Catalan poets; and the one by the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC).

From Tirant to Sonar

To coincide with the publication of the translation into German of Tirant Lo Blanc, the great work of classical Catalan literature, a work of the same name by Josep Maria Benet i Jornet and Calixto Bieito, directed by Calixto Bieitowill be held in the large hall of the Schauspielhaus.

A further noteworthy event will be the Sonar nights at the Bockenheimer Depot at which there will be performances produced by Sonar with Catalan artists from various disciplines such as design, gastronomy, music and multimedia; a cycle of contemporary dance performances with the participation of five Catalan dance companies at the Mousontourm and a film cycle at the Museum of Cinema.

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